Category Archives: Food and Drink

Mauviel Copper Cookware – Match Your Style and Personality

Mauviel Copper Cookware - Match Your Style and Personality

What’s so special about copper cookware? Well, this cookware for the truly discerning cook has been around since 1830, and for professional chefs, it’s some of the most sought-after cookware in the world. Copper pots and pans come in several different lines and materials created with the utmost in quality manufacturing, so they’ll last in your kitchen for years to come.

Copper has been used for cooking for centuries because it has some wonderful qualities. Copper heats more evenly and quicker than other metals. You’ll have more control over what you cook because it heats up and cools down quickly. You can cook with a lower heat in copper cookware, which leads to better food quality. You can use copper cookware on any type of stove, and in the oven and under the broiler, too. Copper is soft, so it easily releases food and it’s easy to clean, too. Copper is the metal of choice for candy makers because unlined copper bowls keep melted sugar from crystallizing, and it’s the best for beating egg whites to perfection, too.

When you shop for copper cookware, there are some things you should know. The company offers four different handle designs and three different pan thicknesses, along with stainless steel linings. They have created these lines because each cook is different and the personality of the pans can match the personality and experience of the cook. The stainless steel interior is also up for just about any type of food you put in it, and it can withstand the higher temps of your oven and broiler, too.

Copper cookware is the green alternative for cookware, too. Since you don’t have to use such high temperatures when you cook with copper, you’ll save on energy and you can see that savings on your energy bill. If you cook with aluminum cookware, you’ll need about half the heat you use now, if you use stainless steel, you’ll need even less than half, and you’ll need about a quarter of the heat you use now if you cook with cast iron cookware.

You can keep your copper cookware looking beautiful for decades to come by periodically polishing the copper surface. Never put your copper cookware in the dishwasher, and always let cooked on food soak in warm, soapy water. Stainless steel is tough but it can still be harmed by using scrubbers or scouring powders. This beautiful cookware will make cooking a breeze, and with it’s distinctive copper sheen and obvious quality, it will add beauty to your kitchen too.

Espresso Machines – More Than Just an Expensive Coffee Maker

Espresso Machines - More Than Just an Expensive Coffee Maker

Espresso-machines make great coffee, but there must be more advantages to owning such an expensive coffee maker.  Are they worth their high price tag?  Do they clean up after themselves?  Is the coffee of such great quality?  Do they make “real” espresso?  What else can you use an espresso-machine for besides coffee beverages?  Do they really make cents?

The super coffee makers are expensive but they are also worth every penny as I will be happy to explain.  These coffee machines are absolutely fabulous!  I know of one person who owns one and doesn’t even drink coffee.  These fabulous coffee makers have many handy uses. And these machines do clean up after themselves.  The super-automatic machines, grind, tamp, and pull the espresso shot for you, all of this while you push a button and do nothing else at all.  After making your shot of espresso, the machine dumps the used coffee grounds.  You do nothing else, no grinding, no mess, nothing.  So yes, they do indeed clean up after themselves. 

Is the coffee produced really any good.  Yes, it is awesome!  Did you know Starbucks now uses super-automatics?  The coffee or cappuccino or whatever beverage you choose to create with these automatic coffee makers is unique in that the brewing process is superior to the drip process of brewing coffee.  You must try it!

Is the espresso they produce real?  Absolutely!  Because it is made with the touch of a button as opposed to a manual process that is rather messy and more time consuming, does not mean the espresso is not real.  Believe me, it is real, with the cream, the flavor, and the convenience!

Other uses for these amazing super-automatics include instant hot water for tea, cooking, and cleaning.  The steam wand is nice for reheating hot beverages.  The hot water is handy for hot tea as well as preparing iced tea.  If you love coffee you probably have recipes that include coffee. Tiramisu, Mudd Pie, are only two of my favorite which I will publish later.  Have you ever needed some hot water to soak or clean small objects.  Perhaps you need to loosen a lid on a jar, or to melt or soften wax.  Maybe you need a little hot water to warm an object. 

I can go on forever.  I love automatic espresso machines and I have found them to be handy tools in the kitchen.  I enjoy the quality the coffee they make, I am amazed at the simple and clean convenience, and I use my machine as a source of hot water.  I make my own coffee beverage at home and that alone makes my machine pay for itself. 

What is in Haggis?

What is in Haggis?

‘Have you had the haggis yet?’ This is a question that visitors to Scotland’s shores will hear more than once in the course of their stay; usually delivered with a wry grin and an all knowing wink. So what is haggis? Well, draw a breath, here is what is in haggis:

1 Sheep lung

1 Sheep heart

1 Sheep stomach

1 sheep liver

Half a pound of suet

Cup of oatmeal

4 onions

Salt

Pepper

½ tsp of cayenne

½ tsp of nutmeg

Cup of stock

(For US citizens, finding a sheep’s lung may prove difficult, as it is illegal to sell or purchase a sheep’s lung in the United States. Indeed, the United States, Department of Agriculture views haggis as being unfit for human consumption.)

Anyway, if you are still undaunted, here is how to prepare your tasty haggis:

Grab the lung and stomach and scrub well, making sure that you scrape off membranes and excess fat, then leave to soak in cold salted water for several hours. Boil heart and liver and let simmer for half an hour. Then, chop heart and grate liver. Toast the oatmeal until golden. Combine all these ingredients and the onions, pepper, cayenne, nutmeg and stock and mix well. Turn stomach inside out and pack the mixture in until the stomach is about two thirds full. Press out the air from the stomach and tie tightly. Place into boiling water and simmer for three hours, adding water to ensure that the stomach is covered. The stomach will begin to swell, when this occurs, prick the stomach several times, to prevent it from bursting. After three hours, undo your tying and you are ready to indulge in haggis.

Serve with mashed turnips and potatoes, what we in Scotland call neeps and tatties. Treat yourself to a nip of whiskey with your haggis, it enhances the taste!

Enjoy, you’ll love it!

Wonder Woman in the Kitchen

Wonder Woman in the Kitchen

At one time or another we have all been wonder woman or man in the kitchen. I wonder where I put that recipe? I wonder where my sharp paring knife is?

Organizing in the kitchen is just as important as knowing which drawer your underwear is in. For some reason we can get the rest of the house together but when it comes to our kitchen, it’s a mystery.

What other room in your house has a junk drawer, besides the kitchen? None in mine and I would say none in your’s either. If I have ever been in a kitchen that didn’t have a junk drawer or space, I do not know it. Here’s a few thing that I hope will keep the wondering out of the kitchen.

[1] Empty the junk drawer

Pull it out right now. Take 10 minutes to go through it. Make three piles, keep, return to where it belongs, trash. Be sure to take the time to wipe the drawer out before placing the keep things back in it.

[2] Do the same to the silverware drawer.

Pull it out, sort the spoons, knives, forks, serving utensils, and cooking utensils. Do you really need 4 plastic spoons with broken handles? If you do use the plastic ware, keep it in a separate place, maybe with the picnic supplies. Never keep anything that has rust on it, even if good ol Aunt Myrtle gave it to you for Christmas. Now is the time to get rid of it.

[3] Where are your cookbooks?

Find them and bring them all to the kitchen. You wont be needing them in the bedroom unless you have a cooking stove in there too. Choose one location to keep them in. Maybe in one of the drawers you cleaned out or the top of the refrigerator. Make it handy and close by the cooking area.

If we take thirty minutes a day, two days a week a for upkeep of all the small things that are important to us in our everyday life, there will be a lot less wondering in the kitchen.

Faylee

Top 5 Ways to Keep Your Lettuce Fresh

Top 5 Ways to Keep Your Lettuce Fresh

Many times we go to our local supermarket or farmer’s market to stock up on fresh vegetables. In a matter of a few days, lettuce can become wilted or worse…slimy. Here are five ways to keep your lettuce fresh for that delicious salad recipe you want to make for lunch or dinner.

1. The Tupperware Fridgesmart

Tupperware Fridgesmart is a container that you can store your vegetables in and makes them last even longer. These containers have two special holes that you leave open or closed depending on the specific vegetable. Store your lettuce in the Tupperware Fridgesmart and you will be amazed how long your lettuce lasts!

2. Zip Lock Plastic Bags

After washing your lettuce, shake the excess water off and lay the lettuce flat on a few paper towels. Place the wrapped lettuce in a Zip Lock plastic bag and the lettuce should last for the next 7-10 days. Just grab the lettuce when you need it!

3. Never use metal

Using a metal pan to store your lettuce just speeds up “the spoiled lettuce” process. Be sure to use a plastic bag or container for storage.

4. Only buy the head!

Bagged lettuce is sometimes already spoiled once it reaches the shelf. It has already be washed, cut and sealed. The lettuce is no longer preserved in its natural form. By buying a head of lettuce, it has been hydrated at the supermarket and is still preserved. All you would have to do is wash and store it yourself.

5. Use the crisper in your refrigerator.

The crisper in your refrigerator is not for beer…it is for vegetables! Store your lettuce in the crisper and it will stay fresher. No more wilted or slimy lettuce.

Try these tips next time you buy lettuce and you will surprised how long your lettuce lasts.

Simple Recipe Starter

Simple Recipe Starter

As we struggle to create affordable homemade meals that are healthy and delicious there is one simple option we seem to overlook. A simple starter recipe. All recipes have key basic ingredients and from those key ingredients you can create so many more options.

I dare you to pull out one of your favorite cookbooks. I bet you will find many recipes that require ingredients that you do not have in the pantry already. Another problem I often run into is that the recipes are complicated and therefore I am not as eager to prepare a new home-cooked meal because I am not sure how it will turn out.

As a child I remember my mom’s meal being made from scratch. She didn’t have the option of running to the store to grab some quick ingredient for dinner that night. We didn’t see boxes of cake mixes or prepackaged biscuits. Every recipe my mom prepared used ingredient from the garden, the farm or the big white gallons stored in the pantry. We love our childhood memories of mom’s fresh baked bread or homemade pies. Even in the modern age of convenience, we can create those memories with our children as well.

Even if you are not preparing simple meals like you mom or grandma, I bet those simple ingredients are in the pantry. We buy them all, we know we should have them available for use. Now we just need to use them. Here is a list of those ingredients needed to start a simple recipe starter:

Salt

Flour

Shortening

Baking Soda

Look in your pantry, I bet they are there. And here is the best part – one you have the simple recipe starter, most of the other ingredients necessary to complete the recipe will be right next to the ingredients you just found!

Let me show you what I mean. Say you recipe starter is for a baking mix like Bisquick. From that recipe starter you can add some dry milk for biscuits, or some sugar, eggs, vanilla and water to make an up-side down cake and how about a dash of sugar and water for some homemade pancakes.

I know it seems easy just to buy those biscuits from the bakery already made and ready to eat. I myself am guilty of buying a cake mix and frosting for the kids to make cupcakes but times are really tough right now. We face financial struggles and these items of convenience we purchase are getting to expensive.

To save money and feed our family healthier home-cook meals we have to go back to the basics and use these great starter recipes.

Meatloaf and Mac And Cheese

Meatloaf and Mac And Cheese

It’s been a day that started out with the best of intentions. A day meant for cleaning, organizing, catching up on all those unfinished projects but instead you sat down, just for a minute, to watch a little TV and relax for a moment before getting started. Unfortunately for you and your to do list you stumble across a Planet of the Apes movie marathon. You can kiss the day good bye. Not only are you not going to get any of the chores done, you will not even bother to get out of your pajamas.

A day like this is perfect for a dinner like this one. The earthy mushroom aroma of the meatloaf and the warm nutty scent of the Mac n’ Cheese filling your kitchen will make you seem like a hero, like you’ve worked on it all day. You’ll be able to get this started just as you’ve finished your Escape From The Planet of The Apes and be done and ready to serve in time to catch the grand finale of the Battle for the Planet of the Apes. And some of that procrastination guilt will be alleviated by the praise and thanks you’ll receive upon serving this moist, savory meatloaf along side this gooey Mac n’ Cheese with its golden crunchy crust.

Meat loaf

Ingredients

8 oz ground pork

8 oz ground beef

2 large eggs

1 cup of Italian style bread crumbs

½ cup red wine, Madeira or port work best

1 tsp veal or beef demi glace (available at any gourmet grocer)

1 tsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cups mushrooms sliced

Spices

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried parsley

1. Preheat oven 375 degrees

2. In a large bowl mix together by hand meat, spices, eggs, and breadcrumbs until a sticky texture is reached.

3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until they lose most of their liquid and are reduced by half in size.

4. Add red wine. Simmer until alcohol smell is gone and sauce begins to thicken.

5. Add demi, stirring until evenly dissolved.

6. Add a pad of butter to finish sauce. Turn off heat and stir, evenly blending butter giving the sauce a shiny finish.

7. Place meatloaf mixture in a glass bread loaf pan. Pour mushroom sauce over top.

8. Cook for 60 minutes

Mac n’ Cheese

8 oz uncooked rigatoni pasta

8 oz half and half

1 egg yolk

1 table spoon bread crumbs

¼ tsp nutmeg

Salt and pepper TT

8 oz Shredded Swiss cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375

2. Cook pasta until al dente. Strain pasta and rinse with cool water to prevent from cooking further. Toss with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

3. Coat a casserole dish with butter to give mac and cheese a golden crust

4. Place a layer of pasta in baking pan.

5. Add a layer of cheese.

6. Continue with alternating layers of pasta and cheese to the top of the baking pan ending with a layer of cheese.

7. Evenly sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top.

8. Bring half and half to a simmer in a small sauce pot.

9. Slowly whisk hot half and half into eggs just a little at a time as not to cook the eggs.

10. Pour this mixture over mac and cheese. This will hold everything together creating a casserole when baked.

11. Place mac and cheese on bottom rack of the oven to achieve a golden crunchy crust. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until top is golden.

If for some reason this doesn’t all get finished tonight it can be stored easily in the refrigerator. Slice up the rest of the meat loaf and wrap each piece individually. This way it can be enjoyed as a sandwich later. It is just as good cold as it is warmed up. The mac n cheese is almost better the next day nuked in the microwave by itself or with a meatloaf sandwich.

Grape Vine Growing For Wine Making Fun

Grape Vine Growing For Wine Making Fun

More and more people of today’s time and society find grapes not only a mere form of commodity or luxury item but as a necessity as well. The sweet and fragrant tastes of these irresistible fruits continue to flourish through time. And because of this high demand for grapes, gardeners and businessmen alike have slowly established the niche of grape vine growing, cultivating and harvesting. In this way, both the seller and the buyers gain something they both yearn for.

The grape vine growing process, surprisingly, is particularly trouble-free and uncomplicated. It does not demand much hands on care and treatment. Basic plant necessities such as light, air, and water should of course be present and provided every single day. Other forms of pampering or enhancing on the other hand like pesticides and fertilizers may be provided and given to your grapevines for maximum grape growing, harvesting, and cultivating for it to take exemplary and positive drastic effects.

Growing grape vines is most certainly a form of investment and business security. The constant public demand for grapes and its by products such as jam, candy, juice, jelly, and wine serves as the starting line for the planting and caring for one’s very own grape vines. If all the basic steps and teachings are followed while in the process of building and caring for your grape vines, it will most definitely bring you so much joy and happiness whether it be in aspects ranging from financial to recreational. Nothing beats seeing the fruits of your labor.

Another great thing that you can get out of planting and starting your own grape vine is that you will be able to gain admission to the making of delicious homemade wine. Grapes are utilized in the creation of wine and it is widely known that wine making brings a lot of money and profit. The making of wine and its distribution is highly demanded by the growing public. This is because wines are used for a majority of occasions such as weddings and parties. Wine is also known to be as the liquor of the rich and famous.

The successful harvesting and cultivating of grape vines also largely depend on the land the vines have been planted into. Choose a sunny and moist location of which to plant your grape vines. Growing grape vines also need to be trained on the particular direction they should grow or else they would spread out randomly thus making the harvesting of grape fruits quite difficult and strenuous.

Having your own grape vine is a very rewarding hobby and business. It not only provides you the relaxation and recreation everyone desires but it also has the fascinating ability to bring in money and profit through the selling and cultivating of grapes into several different food preserves and by-products. Growing grape vines sure has many wonderful delights associated with it. So why not try out growing a grape vine yourself, and experience a new world of fun and excitement.

How to Make Homemade Wine Fast

How to Make Homemade Wine Fast

If you want to make homemade wine and make it fast, here’s a quick step by step method to get it done.

First, you’ll have to get some kind of fruit juice.  Grape juice makes great homemade wine and so does apple juice, strawberry juice, and even peaches.  But most home winemaker’s prefer some kind of grape juice so get about a gallon of that to start with.

The next step is to find a suitable vessel to make your wine in.  What has worked best for me is the 1 gallon wine jugs that you buy at the grocery store.  While the wine that comes in them isn’t top quality you can still drink it, but the jugs can be used over and over and over to make wine in.

Now, sterilize the jug with hot soapy water and then rinse it out several times to make sure no soap is left (otherwise your wine will have a soapy flavor – yumm yumm).  Let the jug completely dry and then pour your juice to it.

Make sure you leave some room at the top of the bottle because it will bubble up when it is fermenting.

Now this is the only tricky part…  The sugar content.  The best and easiest way to measure the sugar is using a hydrometer.  The hydrometer should measure right at 1.1 specific gravity.  If it’s lower, add more sugar.  If it’s higher, you’ll need to dilute the juice with some water.

If you don’t have a hydrometer, there are many places to find them on the internet and they are relatively inexpensive.  But, if you don’t have one then do this:  taste the juice.  It should taste VERY sweet.  If it doesn’t, add more sugar.

Make sure the sugar is mixed and dissolved well.  Now you are ready to add your yeast.  Since we are making wine fast, you can just buy a packet of baker’s yeast from the store and throw it in the bottle.

Now you want to cover the top of the bottle with a paper towel or cloth towel and use a rubber band to hold it on.  The only reason we are doing this is to keep crawling things out (like bugs – eeek!).  Put the jug in a nice warm (72 to 80 degrees) dark spot and let it sit for 10 days.

At then end of ten days, you’ll have wine.  It will be cloudy and may not taste like a fine vintage, but it will be wine nonetheless.  You can let it sit with the top back on for another week and then pour it off into another clean jug, being careful not to pour in the gunk on the bottom, and it will clear pretty fast.

If you want to make a wine that you caqn be proud of, that takes a little bit more effort.

Salad Toppings – Top 10 Ways to Make Your Salads More Tasty and Filling!

Salad Toppings - Top 10 Ways to Make Your Salads More Tasty and Filling!

OK, so summer is approaching very quickly and most of us are turning our attention to getting in shape in time for bathing suit season.  At this time of year, salads become our friends. We turn to them for their delicious lightness, for a quick bite and for their tried and true body shaping qualities.

But uninteresting salads can make for a very dull meal and a very unhappy eater.  And if you don’t top a salad the right way, you are going to very hungry, very quickly.

So here my top ten salad toppings to turn your salads from boring to delightful! Some of these tips are useful for eating salads at restaurants and others are for homemade ones.  If you decide to create homemade salads and bring them with you to work, you may want to try those new salad plastic containers that hold the salad in one part and the dressing in another.  That way your salad and salad toppings will be crispy when you decide to eat them.

1. Double the lean protein (turkey, chicken, eggs, fish) – add chicken and turkey or salmon and eggs.  Do this especially if you often feel hungry after your salads.  A little more protein may help you go the extra mile to avoid the vending machine in the afternoon.

2. Add beans, like black, kidney, cannelloni, or garbanzo.  Beans have lots of great complex carbs, fiber and protein.  They also help to fill you up and keep you that way.

3. Create your own dressings as salad toppings. My favorite is a combination of orange juice, balsamic vinegar, and Grey Poupon mustard.  You can add some olive oil to make it even richer.  I especially like this dressing with spinach leaves.

4. Add some fruit.  Fruit can be great salad toppings.  It can turn a boring salad into a sweet sensation.  My favorites are: orange slices (fresh or canned), strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple slices (fresh or canned). If you are using canned, sugar-free fruit, use the juice to mix into the salad dressing.

5. Add some hummus, Baba-Ganoush or mashed white beans to your salad or salad dressing.  This may sound odd, but it is actually quite delightful. 

6. Make your own glazed nuts as salad toppings.  Dry roast some walnuts or pecans and then add some honey or maple syrup to the pan to coat the nuts.  Take them out of the pan and separate them before they cool, so they don’t clump.  The nuts become a flavorful addition to a boring salad.  This is great if you have a sweet tooth that you are trying to control.

7. Add cooked diced sweet potatoes or regular potatoes. Dice some potatoes into squares.  Coat them in some olive oil and fresh rosemary and roast them until they are soft. Then toss them over mesclun greens.  I especially like this salad with roasted asparagus spears and sliced eggs.

8. Add apples and pears.  Cube up some apples and/or pears and sprinkle these on top of your salad.  I especially like to mix apples and pears with walnuts and have them over spinach.

9. Skip the leaves.  Chop up tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocadoes.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice.  Enjoy.

10. Change up your vinegars and oils.  Spend some time in the oil and vinegar aisle at your local health food store.  A new vinegar or oil can really change up your dressings and make for tasty salad toppings.  Try mixing apple cider vinegar with apple juice and spicy mustard.  Or rice wine vinegar with mirin wine (in the oriental section) and orange juice.  Another suggestion: toasted sesame oil and rice wine vinegar with orange slices over cabbage greens.